People have been talking recently about all the different buckets they drop
their content into. Especially in this world of decentralized web services we
live in today (Internet as
Platform
and all that…). We have a wide variety of specialist content
services to choose from – e.g. Flickr and del.icio.us.
It’s all microcontent and so long as we have Internet access, it shouldn’t worry
us too much if we distribute our content in different places. Or should it? Well
let me tell you about my (current) arrangement for reading and writing Web
content.

1. Read/Write Web is my main
publishing vehicle. During October, I’m going to try and publish more long-form
analytical posts – a la Paul Graham and
Joel Spolsky. I’ve been flirting
with trying to be a “discussion board blog”, like Asterisk
and Whitespace are for the Web
Design community. But frankly I struggle to get comments here on Read/Write Web
and I think that’s because my writing style is more formal than social. I’ve
always seen Read/Write Web as being a publishing vehicle for my writing, rather
than a hub for community discussions. Plus I’m not a ‘post every day’ type
blogger – it’s Quality over Quantity on this blog. Don’t get me wrong, I think
Asterisk and Whitespace are great and they both have interesting content and
discussions. But my goal isn’t to be Mr Popular, so I figure I’ll play to my
strengths – which is publishing original, analytical, web tech-focused content.

2. eBook Culture: this is my
topic-focused blog about eBooks. It’s quite informal and I try to post in an
‘off-the-cuff’ style – something I don’t allow myself to do very often with R/WW.
Ideally this means less long-form articles in eBook Culture and more how-to’s and practical tips,
although lately I’ve been prone to writing a lot of “culture” rants over there
😉

3. I’ve recently started up a new del.icio.us
account
(I originally signed up about a year ago, but back then I ended up
using Movable Type for my links). This time round, I’m using del.icio.us
specifically as a bookmarking solution. Things I add to del.icio.us are
things I intend to read later on my Palm PDA. So I haven’t yet formed a
judgement on the links I post there… nevertheless there’s an element of social
software to it – in that if someone whose judgement I trust recommends something then I may add
it to my del.icio.us links too.

Here’s how my PDA reading system works:

When I browse Bloglines or the Web, if I come across something that looks
interesting I bookmark it in del.icio.us. At the end of each day (or every
second day perhaps), I convert all my unread del.icio.us links into a Plucker
file. [Plucker is, by its own description, “the best offline HTML and ebook
reader for Palm handheld devices”.] I do this via the Plucker Desktop software, which follows each link and transforms the HTML into Plucker format. Finally I synch
this to my PDA, so I can read all those del.icio.us links offline – on the
train, while half-watching tv, waiting for my order at the fish n’ chips shop,
etc.

4. My official linkblog is Read/Write
Web Links
(previously called ‘Web of Ideas’). This is for what I like to call
“refined links” – they’re links that I’ve read and I think are worthy
of storing or recommending. n.b. If you want to subscribe to one of my links
feeds (del.icio.us or R/WW Links), I recommend the latter because they’re things
I’ve actually read and can vouch for the quality of content.

5. I also recently started a LiveJournal
account. I am using this for low-risk private or personal writing – e.g. musings
and journal-like content that isn’t too sensitive. I don’t have much time to
devote to Live Journal, but I thought it’d be good for me to blurt out some
informal writing on that platform. Not a lot will be public, but I’m willing to
let email correspondents and people I know on first-name terms in the blog world
read it. So let me know by email if you have a Live Journal a/c too and want to
read my personal blatherings (and vice versa).

6. Private Notebooks. I don’t write as much of these as I used to in my
pre-blog days. I used to have paper notebooks and also an electronic
non-internet journal (which I didn’t update very often). It’s still essential
for me to have a place for medium-high risk personal writing – i.e. personal
content that I simply can’t risk putting on the Internet, no matter what
security Live Journal has. It’s nothing sensational – goals, plans and other personal stuff.

7. I have a Flickr account and an accompanying Photoblog.
I don’t put myself under any pressure to update this; just whenever I have a new
phone pxt to publish. I recently added some pics of kiwi Bevan Docherty’s
Olympic silver medal, which he won in the triathlon at Athens.

Summary

So there you have it, I have at least 7 types of content buckets. It proves,
to me at least, how far I’ve travelled in the Microcontent world. The Internet is indeed
a platform for my reading and writing and there’s no longer just one ‘place’ for
it all.

So to answer my own question at the beginning of this post – no I’m not
worried about distributing my content to different places. I used to be, but not
any more. Andrew said
that he’s outsourced his memory to the Internet – and I can relate to that. The
Internet is where most of my content lives now.

Update: Of course there are lots of other ‘micro-buckets’ on the Internet where I add content – Amazon wishlist or reviews, comments on other peoples blogs, emails, wikis, etc. I really need a Microcontent Wiki-like service to aggregate it all… or an online agent to keep track of it 🙂